Nigeria’s Action Congress Seeks Probe of Nitel Sale

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Action Congress (AC) has called for a thorough investigation into the sale of Nitel to Transcorp, in the wake of fresh revelations concerning the acquisition of 51 per cent stake in the telecommunications firm. AC's National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed said in a statement yesterday that it was alarming that Transcorp has failed to either turn around the fortunes of Nitel or repay the N74 billion loan it obtained from a consortium of banks to pay for its shares' acquisition.

"Now, according to published reports, the banks have asked to be allowed to take over Nitel as the new owners, at a time the government is pursuing a fresh privatisation arrangement for the much-bastardised telecommunications firm. This is sad," Mohammed said.

AC said the investigation it is seeking must unravel why the BPE acted unprofessionally in the privatisation of Nitel, especially as it allowed Transcorp to hold on to the firm even when it missed the payment deadline.

"If it is found out that there is complicity between the BPE and the powers that be then to sell Nitel to Transcorp at all cost, including undermining due process, then the leadership of the Bureau must be made to answer for such lapses. If, on the other hand, the BPE was under pressure to turn a blind eye when Transcorp defaulted, it must say so," he said.

Daily Trust